Salvini polarising Italy on Liberation Day
On April 25, Italy commemorates its liberation from war and fascism in 1945. The day of celebration has many opponents on the right, and Interior Minister Salvini has now indirectly sided with them by snubbing events to mark the anniversary and choosing to inaugurate a police station in the former Mafia stronghold Corleone instead. Commentators condemn his behaviour.
Division as a strategy
Salvini is deliberately provoking to win votes on the right, Tages-Anzeiger is convinced:
“His opponents are incensed. They say that the interior minister is relativising the historical achievements of the partisans, the liberators - in other words those Italians who paved the way for democracy and lives lived in freedom. At the same time he flirts with the fascists, the nostalgics, who salute him in the old way - the Roman way with the arm fully extended, the Black Shirts' salute. The criticism doesn't bother Salvini, he accepts it, perhaps even enjoys it. His popularity is still growing. The flirting and the trivialising, the polarising and division are all part of the plan. The European elections are just around the corner. For the sake of a few more votes he is shaking the pillars of the Italian republic.”
Even Liberation Day is no longer sacred
Salvini is exploiting every possible opportunity to divide the country, columnist Ezio Mauro rails in La Repubblica:
“The minister of the interior is pitting the fight against fascism against the fight against the Mafia - as if this were a contest rather than a double challenge for a democratic leadership. In this way Salvini is disqualifying himself both as a politician and as a member of government. The other deputy PM [coalition partner 5 Star Movement's Di Maio] is now discovering his anti-fascist side after claiming to maintain an equal distance to both the left and the right for months - while at the same time playing along with all of Salvini's xenophobic forays.”